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Play Streets and Block Parties

These types of activities take place on the roadway of a side street. There's a gathering of people, but never a big crowd, typically with somewhere between 10 and 50 people present. There might be simple games, like bike riding, corn hole and writing in chalk, and some equipment like a tables and pop-up tents. There might be music or performances but not too loud to disturb conversation. The equipment is simple, everything easy to set-up and to move.

Play Streets and Block Parties are both temporary extensions of the sidewalk, but they differ in terms of audience and intention.

Play Streets are sometimes called Peatoniños (aggregation of the Spanish words for pedestrian + child). Well more than half of the land in Chelsea is devoted to roadways. In cities like Chelsea with limited open space, play streets are a way to reclaim, if only in a temporary way, some of this space to provide areas for kids to engage in active play. They're often set up on a regular schedule near schools or in dense residential neighborhoods. Along with free-play, simple equipment and organized activities can create opportunities for learning. Play Streets are typically managed by the municipality and held on weekdays when school is not in session. Communities across the world host play streets, most notably in Mexico. Closer to home, Los Angeles, Philadelphia and New York host play streets.

Block Parties engage people of all ages who live within a particular area. Organized by neighbors, the intent is to build relationships among the area's residents. Food is nearly always shared and there's some low-key activities to keep everyone entertained. Block Parties are generally held on weekends when residents are more likely to be home.


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